Chandigarh, Jan 30 (IANS) With the Punjab government seeking a waiver of the Rs 31,000 crore food account issue, the Chairman of the 15th Finance Commission on Wednesday announced the formation of a committee to find ways of settling the matter.
Commission Chairman N.K. Singh said here that “the issue could not be brushed under the carpet”.
“The Commission would do everything in its powers to help the state get rid of this legacy problem, Singh assured Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh while wrapping up discussions with the Punjab government,” a government spokesperson said.
Singh said the committee under the Finance Commission, with the Centre, Punjab and FCI (Food Corporation of India), would explore all possibilities to settle the matter.
The Punjab government has been asking the Centre to waive off Rs 31,000 crore which is under dispute in the food account of the state.
While promising to look into all aspects of debt waiver to help the state’s distressed farmers, the commission chairman also assured the Chief Minister of all possible support to improve Punjab’s fiscal health, the spokesperson added.
“The Chairman lauded the Chief Minister for abolishing truck unions, which he termed a Herculean task for any politician. He urged the state to play a leadership role in making food procurement process more efficient and sustainable, to make it a role model to be replicated by other states,” the spokesperson said.
Intervening in the discussion, the Chief Minister lamented that the FCI was not pitching in in the procurement operations in the state whose godowns were full, leaving no space for storing the next crop.
“FCI had not picked up wheat in the state for the past 3-4 years. What will Punjab do with the marketable surplus in this kind of situation,” Amarinder Singh said.